Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Arabic adaptation of loanwords: An empirical examination of pharyngealization and vowel epenthesis
by Alzaaq, Abdullah Y., M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 83; 10253005
Abstract (Summary)

The current study investigates loanword adaptations in the Arabic language. It supports the perceptual approximation stance asserting that the adaptation process is based on acoustic similarities rather than segment preservation by drawing evidence from two phenomena found in loanword adaptations. The first phenomenon is the pharyngealization phenomenon in which some loanwords adapted into Arabic are adapted with emphatic pharyngealized consonants, while the second phenomenon is vowel epenthesis. The claim presented in this study suggests that the pharyngealization phenomenon occurs due to the back vowel found in the source language in which it is associated with emphatic pharyngealized consonants in Arabic. Hence, the perception of the source language phoneme as an allophonic variant of an Arabic phoneme led to the pharyngealization phenomenon. The study also claims that the site in which a vowel is inserted to treat forbidden structures is governed by the nature of the cluster to increase the acoustic similarities between the input and the output. Fifty-five Najdi Arabic monolinguals and 55 Najdi Arabic-English bilinguals were recruited. The participants were given English nonce words containing /s/ and /t/ followed by the English back vowel /?/ which is also an allophonic variant of the Arabic phoneme /a/. They were also given English nonce words containing illegal initial consonant clusters in Najdi Arabic. The findings revealed that Najdi Arabic monolinguals adapted the consonant /s/ with pharyngealization more than the Najdi Arabic bilinguals; however, they did not show significant pharyngealization adaptation for /t/. Regarding vowel epenthesis, the study showed that vowel insertion was systematically governed by the nature of the cluster. However, they findings were not very clear regarding initial tri-consonant clusters.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hall, Nancy
Commitee: Fender, Michael, Finney, Malcolm, Hall, Nancy
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Linguistics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 56/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics
Keywords: Adaptation, Arabic loanwords, Pharyngealization, Phonology/phonetics, Vowel epenthesis
Publication Number: 10253005
ISBN: 978-1-369-51204-5
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